Friday, December 17, 2010

Bush Tax Cuts - Part VIII

Well the deed is done.  Here are the highlights:

Highlights of the $858 billion tax-cut package

Income taxes: Extends Bush-era tax rates at all income levels. Cost: $186.8 billion
Alternative Minimum Tax: 20 million middle-income households spared AMT. $136.7 billion
Itemized deductions: More generous for high-income households. $20.7 billion
Standard deduction: Higher for married couples. $18 billion
Extension of sales-tax deductions: Washington residents take note. $5.5 billion
Payroll tax: Lowers Social Security tax from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent in 2011. $112 billion
Estate tax: 35 percent tax, over $5 million/individuals, $10 million/couples. $68.1 billion
Child tax credit: Expands who can claim $1,000 credit. $71.7 billion
Jobless benefits: Up to 99 weeks, through 2011. $56.5 billion
Source: Joint Committee on Taxation
(from The Seattle Times)

Rob Natelson wrote at Freedom's Front Line:

So Congress is now about to give us a deal that raises spending and adds to the deficit.  How can this happen?  It can happen because the Supreme Court has so expanded Congress’s spending power as to change the U.S. Constitution from a good constitution to a bad one.
Constitutions are rules for the political game.  Good rules translate the normal political process into generally good results.  Bad rules translate them into bad results.
If the courts were still enforcing the original Constitution’s limits on federal spending, this deal would have come out differently: Instead of Republicans winning tax cuts and Democrats getting spending increases (resulting in a higher deficit), the principal dealing would have been over whether to cut more or less spending, resulting in a lower deficit.
Maybe we need a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget?  From my understanding, the constitution requires a balanced budget over the long term.  Lately, all the government's deficit spending are emergency spending (as in the case of war.)  At any rate the next session of congress will be looking for cutting government spending.  Hmm, I wonder whether it will be military cutbacks or social programs on the chopping block...

Bush Tax Cuts - Part VII

The only issue the Republican party cares about right now is extending the Bush Tax Cuts.  Oh what a failure Republicans would be if the Bush Tax Cuts don't get extended!  Oh how their masters will whip them!

Mr. President Obama - please raise my taxes!  I don't mind paying my fair share of taxes.  I value our social safety net.  I value our police force, firefighters, teachers, librarians and everyone else who gets paid by the government to provide the infrastructure for our society.

Raise my taxes!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Corporatocracy Strikes Again!

Quote of the day:
Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, said in a floor speech that the compromise was an essential first step toward addressing the nation’s deficit, by “cutting off the spigot’’ of tax income to the federal government to force Congress to make spending cuts.
The Republicans have an agenda which is to cater to the corporatocracy and the affluent.  However, in order to do this they have to "sell" their agenda to the average American.  And this they do very well.  Traditionally, they have done this with deceit and subterfuge.
Lately, they are not even trying to conceil their true intentions but are outright announcing that they want lower taxes for the top 2% and that they want the government to make spending cuts.  If you read between the lines, it means cuts to social programs like public schooling, unemployment insurance, social security and medicare.  They're not that keen on infrastructure either so even our civil servants aren't safe.

It doesn't matter if the government increases the deficit by spending or by tax cuts.  Either way the corporatocracy wins when the government doesn't have money for social programs.

The corporatocracy consists of the biggest corporations that have the most influence on government like banks, defense contractors, energy companies, big pharma, etc.  The corporatrocracy has another name - the "military-industrial complex" and Dwight D. Eisenhower dropped the bomb on it in his farewell speech:
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Two points come to mind.  One, why wasn't anything done about it after it had been exposed by Ike?  And two, we must fight for democracy as well as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A little to the right...

A little to the right...
  • I believe in democracy.
  • I believe in free enterprise.
  • I am not a big fan of unemployment insurance or social security - social programs should be based on need.
  • I am not a big fan of unions in that it interferes with the equilibrium of the supply and demand of labor.  I believe that professionals should not be able to limit their numbers.  Secret societies should be highly illegal.
  • I believe the role of the government isn't to own or operate its companies.
  • I believe in free-trade in principle if it's fair trade.
  • I believe in transparency.  Governments agencies should not be acting in secret other than intelligence gathering.
  • I believe that governments should not wage war on foreign countries.  Foreign countries should not be exploited.
  • I believe that rules and regulations should be simple and fair to small business and large corporations alike.
  • I believe that estate taxes should be eliminated.
  • I believe in a fair, just, timely, predictable and non-political legal system.
  • I believe that the government should balance their budget over a complete business cycle.  That means running surpluses in good times and deficits in bad times.
A little to the left... 
  • I believe in universal heath care paid through general revenue.
  • I believe good free education right on through university.
  • I believe if you cause harm to someone or society in general then you should have to compensate the injured party.  That means taxes on gasoline, pollution, alcohol, tobacco, sodas, candy and anything with excessive fat or sugar in it, etc.
  • I believe that government must build and maintain infrastructure in the public good. 
  • I believe that industries in the public good or with extraordinary market share should be regulated.
  • I believe that fines should be high enough to deter unwanted unlawful/illegal activities.
  • I believe that companies that abuse their market share should be broken up.
  • I believe that individuals within companies should held accountable for their actions and crimes.
  • I believe that minimum wage should be a livable wage.
  • I believe in capital gains tax - triggered when sold or otherwise changed ownership (gift/death).
  • I believe that a society should take care of those who cannot take care of themselves.  I believe that the government should provide job training and jobs to those that want to work (excluding handicapped or retired).
  • I believe than tenants whether individuals or businesses should be protected from excessive rate increases.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Bush Tax Cuts - Part VI

The estimates we see from the press are 3 trillion over 10 years for couples who have earned $250k or less and $700b over 10 years for the top 2%.  That's $3.7t in total.

The United States population is about 311m.   See the US Population Clock.

So the tax cost per person is approx $12k.  So why not send out rebate checks instead?  We'll all share the stimulus money equally and the low income earners will get a larger percentage relative to their income.  Now the government needs to save some money.  So lets save half and distribute the remaining 6k to every person in the us over the next 10 years.  That's approximately $600 per person per year.   Oh wait, that's the same amount of the Bush Stimulus Rebates.  Except Bush had caps $75k for individuals, $150k for couples and parents only got $300 per child.  Now why is this socialist agenda coming from the Republicans and not the Democrats?  I know I got some kind of a tax credit from the Democrats for 2009 and 2010 but I'm going to have to check my tax returns to make sure I got it.  I think checks are more memorable.

Let's let the Bush Tax Cuts expire and send out Obama Stimulus Rebate Checks instead!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

An open letter to President Obama

Dear Mr. President Obama,

You've been pulling the wool over our eyes for almost 2 years now but we've wised up.  You may claim to be the great centrist and work with Democrats and Republicans alike to get the job done.  But we've seen the way you work.  You start by talking tough and holding your ground.  Before even negotiations get tough it's leaked that your willing to compromise.  Then it's leaked that your willing to compromise a little more, and then a little more.  It looks like that your in the pocket of the Corporatocracy.  Where shall we start?
  • Your biggest campaign contributors were banks and investment banks. (
  • Department of the Treasury: Secretary Timothy F. Geithner.  Straight from Federal Reserve Bank of New York where he was president and chief executive officer.
  • On Finance Reform Bill - gave them everything they wanted.
  • Department of Defense:  Secretary Robert M. Gates.  Nothing quite says no change here by appointing the guy from the previous administration.  No sign of either the War in Afghanistan nor the war in Iraq ending.  Defense budget up and increase of troops.
  • Guantanamo Bays shows no sign of closing.
  • Fair trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees.  Keeping Guantanamo Bay detainees without trial indefinitely.
  • Reappointing Ben Bernake.
  • Michael Taylor was the FDA official who approved the use of Monsanto's Bovine Growth Hormone in dairy cows (even though it's banned in most countries and linked to cancer). After approving it, he left the FDA—to work for Monsanto. Until last year, when he moved back to the government—as President Obama's "Food Safety Czar." No joke. (No. 4 from from
  • Health Care:  No public option.  Gave the HMO everything they could possibly want.  Didn't have public support.  Will force people to purchase health care or pay a penalty: probably unconstitutional.
  • Cap and Trade: gone.
  • Bush Tax Cuts:  Willing to compromise with the Republican-house-elect on extending the Bush Tax Cuts for the top 2%.  Why should the Republicans compromise when you've indicated that you're will to extend the Bush Tax Cuts for the top 2% in exchange for a few bones.
  • Protected the Bush administration from indictment domestically and abroad.
  •  The 'Making Homes Affordable' program was a joke.  It was completely at the bank's discretion.
Obama supporters may want to check the entertaining site:

While more realists may want to check out:

The Obameter Tracking Obama's Campaign Promises

I think what I'm really upset about is what you've done to the Democrat party.  William Lyon Mackenzie King said something like, "
The first thing a politician does after getting into office is get to work on his reelection campaign."  Instead of being true to Democrat ideals or following public opinion, you've chosen your own 'please no one' strategy.  You've taken the 'moral high ground' as the Republican have made mincemeat out of you.

Finally Mr. President, if you really wanted to change the way Washington works then you should have started with bills such as:

  • Removing the filibuster rules.
  • Restricting corporate influence over elections.  (Corporations aren't people and cannot vote thus restrictions on their influence should have been legislated.)
  • Tackled earmarks, transparency and lobbyists.
  • Fund all candidates and put caps on spending.
The good news, Mr. Obama, is that you've been a good Corporatocracy soldier and I'm sure they will get you re-elected.